Category Archives: Dinner

:: Whitewater :: it fit the mould

2016-03-16 19.15.56My Mom is in town and it was time to take her out for a ‘ touristy dinner’.  You know the one I am talking about…when you put yourself in holiday mode and book the table at a restaurant that you wouldn’t normally go to as a local.  Think a little bit fancy, crisp white linen and china, staff dressed in standard black bottoms & white top and food presented with flare and perfection.  When you live in a beautiful part of the world, there are certainly businesses that focus on capturing the tourist dollar.  There is nothing wrong with that, it’s great for the local economy but it generally means these establishments are more expensive than the average punter is going to spend on a weekly dinner out.  For a local, these might be ‘special occasion’ venues and there are certainly several restaurants that would easily fit this mould in Manly. So when it came down to deciding which venue we would wine & dine my Mom at, I remembered Whitewater was on First Table‘s roster.  Whitewater has the beach front location, crisp but classic interior & a modern Australian menu,  it was the perfect combination for our ‘touristy dinner’ with our international visitor.  Plus, not only would we get 50% off our meal but we would be ticking another eatery off our list and one that we might not have made it to in awhile as just the two of us with baby in tow.

Continue reading :: Whitewater :: it fit the mould


:: The Hold :: sailing into burger haven

2016-03-02 17.33.37I must admit that we walk past The Hold often, but have never really thought about it for a place to eat dinner.  Mostly likely this stems from the association that this space was just a cocktail bar previously and an expensive one at that…Harlem, for those playing along.  When you walk past , looking in, the interiors of The Hold are still dark and surreptitious but now are also detailed with wood from floor to ceiling and themed to be the inside of a old schooner ship, hence the name, The Hold.

However, the name does not give away what type of cuisine is on offer.  It is a bit of a mystery… So when I said to The Hubby, lets try out the First Table site this week and see which restaurant we can tick off our Eatery List;  The Hold appeared on their roll call of restaurants and the cuisine catalogued was American (New), Gastro Pub Food…ah ha mystery solved!   We had particularly healthy home cooked meals for well over a week and the thought of a deluxe burger and fries instantly made my hand scroll over to the ‘book now’ button to secure our reservation.  Now, not only were we in for a burger fix, we were also going to get 50% off the food bill too. Winning! Continue reading :: The Hold :: sailing into burger haven

::Sunset Sabi:: winner winner tuna dinner

The Hubby & I had heard some rumblings around town that the kids from Chica Bonita were opening another restaurant in the hood.  Oh don’t you love the buzz of anticipation!  If you have been to Chica Bonita, you would rate the funky fitout, the straight up mexi-street food and give it props for bringing alive the little lane way, where it is nestled.  If they applied the same formula to their new digs, then things should be good…real good.  So for our first review of 2016, let me introduce you to Sunset Sabi.
2015-11-10 17.32.05 Continue reading ::Sunset Sabi:: winner winner tuna dinner

:: Ironbark :: inventive pizza menu

IronbarkManly_PizzaThis week The Hubby & I jumped on our bikes again and headed toward the other end of town from Darley Road to tick off Ironbark Manly from our list.  Ironbark has been in the same location on Pittwater Road since I have lived in Manly but even though we have been to numerous eateries all around it, we still had never ventured inside.  The Hubby & I love pizza, so we were very much looking forward to trying a ‘new-to us’ pizza place.  Would this be our new favourite pizza in town?  We were about to find out.

On arrival, the restaurant smelled divine and had a pleasant vibe to it even though it wasn’t packed when we arrived, only three other tables of four people seated.  The staff were attentive and friendly and allowed to select which table suited us best, which I always like. Now that we are photographing our food for the blog, we have learnt to find a seat with the best lighting and hopefully not too many people around us as well.  Using my smart phone at the dinner table, very much goes against my commitment to being present with those around you… so The Hubby & I work together to quickly set up and snap the photos without fussing about too much.  We have gotten quite speedy but are still working on the quality of our photos.  Let us know if you have any tips… Continue reading :: Ironbark :: inventive pizza menu

:: Bluewater Cafe :: is it really a local’s cafe?

After 3 weeks overseas for work and play, The Hubby & I are back on track to continue our Darley Days mission.  It is amazing how things can change in 3 weeks in our little village too.  I have seen a some new places pop up, a few under construction and hype building for the launch of Daniel San this weekend too.  Gotta love Manly!  I’ll make sure to update the Eatery list ASAP too!

However, for our first thursday back at it, I had steak on the brain and so The Hubby & I looked at our list and narrowed down to three options…Ribs & Rumps, Manly Grill and Bluewater Cafe.  Bluewater is the only option of the three that both of us had never been to so we decided to give it a go.

I’ve known about Bluewater for years, it seems to have been along the surf beach front as long as I can re2014-05-22 14.06.22call.  I remember a former colleague once mentioning that she loves their ‘food on a stick’, which initially peaked my interest and has stuck with me still.   I’ve also heard that locals do frequent the cafe, but yet none of my friends seem to dine here or have mentioned it for a possible dinner outing.  Perhaps it is more of brekky and lunch spot than dinner?  Well, we were about to find out ! Continue reading :: Bluewater Cafe :: is it really a local’s cafe?

:: Jipang :: earn your local badge

Jipang_DarleyDaysThis week The Hubby and I were feeling like heading to one of our old favourites… Jipang, the Japanese noodle house located in the Henry Roth arcade.  Their location in the arcade is a busy thruway, between the Corso and library, where you can sit, eat and watch Manly walk by.   The staff lovingly wear an Australian flag bandana for headwear as part of their uniform, a small touch that distinguishes the eatery and makes me smile too.  The Hubby & I were after a quick, cheap and satisfying meal which we knew Jipang would deliver. Plus, we rate their Gyoza – Japanese style dumplings (6pc) as some of the best in town… I’ve been known to just pop in and order a plate of gyoza simply to satisfy a craving…delicious!

Jipang is unofficially split into three different dining areas with a handful of tables inside the small eatery, seating at the bar overlooking the action in the kitchen and lastly seating outside in the arcade thruway.    When we arrived, we were able to grab a table inside and immediately started pondering the menu.   The gyoza’s were an automatic order but we also included The Hubby’s new staple the Agedashi Gyoza – deep fried dumplings in soy flavoured sauce.  He use to always order the Agedashi Tofu but once the gyoza version was spotted, he hasn’t looked back.  I finally decided on the Mixed Tempura Udon – prawn tempura (2pcs), kakiage tempura (1pc) & some vege tempura for a main and The Hubby went with a split order of the Jipang Chahan – fried rice & a bowl of clear soup and Karaage Chicken marinated deep fried chicken.  It was an unusual order for The Hubby, and I was initially concerned that he did not order enough food which would put my noodles in jeopardy… sharing was not part of the plan tonight for the mains.. ha ha. Continue reading :: Jipang :: earn your local badge

:: Fika Swedish Kitchen :: a kindred spirit

Have you heard of Fika?  It popped up on the scene across from the Manly Library entrance just over a year ago and specialises in Swedish fare, a first for the area.  Fika is a Swedish word that translates as ‘taking a break for coffee and a bite to eat’ according to the rhetoric throughout the cafe.  However, the team go on to explain it is more than that… “it’s a moment to relax, to catch up with your family and to laugh with your friends.  It’s making up for lost time, or part of your daily ritual.  A cosy escape, or a refreshing pause. It’s the time between meals, the place between destinations.  I don’t know about you, but appreciating the definition of Fika, gives me the warm and fuzzies and total resonates with me. Oh the Sweds…they are so clever!  I am a sucker for Scandinavian culture though and actually make a living promoting Danish designer furniture and Swedish lighting to Architects and Interior Designers.  So for our Darley Days dinner this week, The Hubby & I were looking for that cosy escape and agreed it was time to try FikaContinue reading :: Fika Swedish Kitchen :: a kindred spirit

:: MIRA :: romance in the garden

Our thursday night dinner date was extra sweet this week as I had just arrived back in Manly after my 8 day long business trip to Melbourne (hence why there was no post last week).  And since I would have a suitcase in tow when disembarking from the Manly Fast Ferry, we decided to dine somewhere close to the wharf.   There are six restaurants (not including the fast food chains) within the wharf itself – Hugo’s, Bavarian Bier Cafe, Chat Thai,  Papa Chulo, Chur Burger and the Wharf Hotel.   However, we were looking for something with a quiet intimate space as well as a being a bit familiar to us.   Set in a townhouse across the street from the wharf, Mira Japanese Restaurant was the perfect pick for our Thursday night meal.

The Hubby and I have been to Mira a few times before.  We have gone with large groups of friends as well as just the two of us.   It isn’t the Japanese Restaurant that we frequent the most, but we do like it and would recommend it.  So tonight, we were going with fresh eyes to look at the menu a little differently for the purpose of the blog. Continue reading :: MIRA :: romance in the garden

:: Ashiana :: loosen your belt buckles

We were hit with a bit of indecision this week as to which restaurant we were going to tick off The List.  Initially, we had settled on trying out the Yardham Taphouse but when we rocked up the lights were full beam as they had a trivia night happening.  We were swapping our normal Thursday night dinner mission with Wednesday this week due to a prior engagement on Thursday.  I do enjoy a good trivia night but this time around, we were looking for a more relaxed environment with warm hearty food and the bright lights really put us off at the Yardham.  After a little wander around the block, we settled on Indian and walked up the stairs to Ashiana.

We have been to Ashiana before and probably frequent it the most of any Indian restaurants in Manly.  There use to be at least four or five different Indian restaurants in Manly but these days there are only two.   Ashiana is located on the second floor, so it is easy to miss if you don’t look closely as they don’t have the benefit of street appeal.   I first heard about Ashiana back in the day when I had an English flat mate.  She and her boyfriend use to eat Indian at least twice a week, which baffled me as I was more a once every four month Indian food craver…I quickly learned that the Brits had an obsession with Indian curries!  Needless to say this is the last place still in business in town that she rated for their flavourful Northern Indian and regional cuisine.

When we dine at Ashiana we are going there strictly for the food and not particularly the atmosphere.   The space is terribly awkward with separate rooms divided by curved archways and mix-matched schlocky furniture crammed into each area.  There is so much potential to update the interiors and each time The Hubby & I dine here our minds races with ideas. Continue reading :: Ashiana :: loosen your belt buckles

:: Jah Bar :: disco dancing tastebuds

An Instagram post enticed us again this week when it came time to select the restaurant from our eatery list. Jah Bar hit the nail on the head with their post “step out of the cold & into our restaurant.  Tapas special tonight is any 4 tapas + a (selected) bottle of red or white wine, or jug of sangria or beer for just $65 for two”.  Don’t mind if we do!  Our friends Jenny & Simon also wanted to get in on the Darley Days mission dinner tonight and both had not been to the Jah Bar yet.  PERFECTO! The Hubby & I can’t remember exactly when we went last but it was well over two years ago so it would be a fresh and new experiences for all of us to take part in.  We were on our way after a meet-up drink at the Steyne first.

It was particularly chilli this Thursday night and there were no brave souls sitting outside the front of the restaurant but it was packed inside. We were seated at the front in a cosy corner inside booth. We were amused to see the outside heater inside keeping us nice and toasty, a fireplace in the sky type of feel.

When we looked at the menu, we were pretty set to take up the special we had seen on Instagram and just double it.  It was two bottles of red wine kinda of night after all!  The waitress was very sweet and friendly and also explained that since there were four of us the set menu might work as well.  For instance, some of the tapas like the zucchini flowers come as three on a plate but if we wanted to add an extra flower for the fourth person it would be an additional charge, whereas the set menu would make sure each tapas plate catered to the four of us perfectly.  Interesting.  There are three set menus to select from, the $45, $55 or $65 per head option and while we did have a look to see if it would be a better option for us, we noticed that drinks weren’t included…so we went with the special and doubled it.  Like I said it was a two bottles of red wine kinda night, he he!  I also noted and loved to see that all food at Jah Bar is sustainable and free range and meat and seafood are sourced from local providers and suppliers. Continue reading :: Jah Bar :: disco dancing tastebuds